– Spoiler Review –
While Shattered Empire didn’t have the strongest of starts, #2 says frak that and ups the ante and its game with a puzzling new Imperial character, a solid lead in Shara, and a what-the-hell ending.
While the first issue revealed Shara Bey and her husband Kes Dameron were the parents of The Force Awakens‘ Poe, issue #2 sheds a little more light on youngling, revealing he’s already old enough to talk. This means Poe was born prior to the Battle of Endor, as #1 seemed to hint he was conceived after the triumph at Endor. Now either Shara and Kes’ amorous scene could mean another Dameron is on the way or maybe it was just to show a very normal reaction for two in-love married people to have once they found each other after fighting in a giant battle where neither were likely to survive. Take your pick.
It’s been 17 days since the events in #1 and Shara hasn’t had any contact with Kes, considering he’s in comms blackout due to whatever he’s up to with Han Solo and their team. Instead of sitting around and waiting on word from Kes, she’s been throwing herself at whatever assignment she can find so she doesn’t drive herself crazy with worry. After their successful liberation of Cawa City on Sterdic IV, Green Leader L’ulo, Shara’s Duros squad-leader, basically orders her to take an easy, non-dangerous assignment and relax, but his words are about as subtly ominous as big red danger signs to us readers. Her assignment sure starts off cozy, being the personal pilot to Princess Leia on a diplomatic mission to Naboo, but since when do diplomatic missions go wrong, am I right?
There are some intriguing interactions Shara witnesses Leia have with characters, the first being her brief chat with Mon Mothma and the second being a just as brief meeting with the current Queen of Naboo, Soruna. In her conversation with Mothma, Leia seems to admit to having the same problem as Shara has, throwing herself at all the work she can handle so she isn’t thinking about a myriad of other things, including Han out on his missions or the recent revelations about her true lineage. She seems to view a diplomatic mission as boring as Shara does, making them perfect travel companions on such a trip. With the Queen, it’s slightly ironic and poignant to see Leia pleading to a Queen of Naboo, a position her mother once held so many years before and a seat of office she was once in the running to have on her adopted home world. But these two soon find out, and quickly regret ever thinking it, that diplomatic missions are never boring.
Cue the mysterious new Messenger, a figure swathed in red and wearing a mask able to project imagines onto itself. While the Messenger might be new to us, the Imperial’s reactions to its presence quickly gives it a sense of history in the GFFA, which I greatly appreciated seeing as the Messenger is quite unique. The message happens to be from Palpatine (though considering he’s dead, was it a pre-recorded message or one of his doubles?), telling select Captains Operation: Cinder is a go, which by the end of the #2 seems to be a terror campaign against high-valued targets in the galaxy. Naboo happens to be one of them and the Imperials have not only jammed the planet from calling out for help, but they’ve unleashed climate disruptors to wreck havoc and scourge the planet for good. How many other worlds are facing similar attacks? Or worse? Can I get a holy crap? Good luck Shara and Leia, good luck.
In an interesting move I’ve never experienced in my very limited comic book reading, there were three separate artists for the issue, Marco Checchetto (who did #1 alone), Angel Unzueta, and Emilio Laiso. While it’s definitely obvious there are three, not only did the switches not bother me, but in a way I felt like they helped transition us from one scene or place to the next. It’s pretty clear to discern where one artist ends and one begins, so thankfully it wasn’t every other page or something. I enjoyed each one’s style, though who ever was doing the section with Leia and Shara seemed to be having a really hard time nailing down Leia’s face. It looks like there’s at least 3 to 4 other women who occupy the face of Leia in the issue, with only one or two panels that actually look slightly like Leia/Carrie Fisher (when Shara brings Leia something to drink or the close up just after they disembark from their ship).
Here are a few other things:
- This is nothing for or against the issue, but if the Empire had a weather disruption array capable of whipping up dozens of hurricanes to ruin worlds, why did they even need to build a Death Star? Yes, I understand it was the ultimate symbol of fear and the threat of losing your entire planet and people was incredibly strong, but I almost feel like a severe weather event popping out of nowhere would be even worse. My reasoning is thus: imagine the economic and psychological side effects of tons of hurricanes ripping apart your world. We’ve seen how much damage and ruin only one hurricane at a time can cause here on Earth, so picture the scale of destruction from dozens. Now imagine trying to pick up the pieces from that and watching other planets and star systems suffer the same fates. I’d be more afraid of losing everything but having to go on living than a simple boom and it’s all over Death Star approach. But maybe that’s just me.
- The exchange between Shara and L’ulo regarding long faces was pretty funny.
- In passing they reference Leia’s visit to Naboo within the Princess Leia comic series. And they even borrowed her outfit from that series for her apparel when arriving on Naboo, which is one of my favorite looks for Leia, ever.
- Lost Stars happens to reveal there have been three attempts on retaking Naboo since the Battle of Endor, but they’ve failed each time. Perhaps the attack here is the first?
- I can’t be the only one who’s read Saga and immediately thought of the Robots when the Messenger first appeared! See the pics below for a comparison.
What part will the Messenger play in canon going forward? How can Leia and Shara escape the coming devastation to Naboo? How many artists will be in the next issue? Shattered Empire #2 does a better job than #1 to build its characters and world, while giving readers more to ponder and question and look forward to.
+ Attack on Naboo
+ Leia and Shara team up
– Leia’s ever-changing face
STAR WARS CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
#1 | #3 | #4
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25) | Annual: #1
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
Skywalker Strikes (#1-6) | Old Ben’s Journals | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#8-12) | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger (#21-25) | Annual: #1
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Poe Dameron (on-going)